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Understanding Osteoarthritis
What is osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage. Sometimes as the result of trauma, repetitive movement, or for no apparent reason, the cartilage wears down, exposing bone ends. This can occur quickly over months or may take years to occur. Osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life and may affect only one joint or many joints.

What is cartilage?
Joint cartilage is a tough, smooth tissue that covers the ends of bones where joints are located. It helps cushion the bones during movement, and because it is smooth and slippery, it allows for motion with minimal friction.

What are some symptoms of osteoarthritis?

  • Joint pain while standing or moving
  • Decreased activity
  • Giving out or locking of joint
  • Abnormal stance or walk
  • Swelling
  • Loss of joint movement

How do I know if I have osteoarthritis?
A correct diagnosis is essential before starting treatment. Many patients with bone and joint pain assume they have arthritis. There are numerous causes of joint pain that are not related to arthritis. Your physician will use your medical history, examination, X-rays, and possibly blood work to determine if you have arthritis and, if so, what type of arthritis you have.

How is osteoarthritis treated?
Common non-surgical treatments include exercise or physical therapy, pain relievers, weight reduction if you are overweight, walking devices, braces, rest, and ice. If these treatments do not provide adequate relief from pain, joint replacement may be an option.

Is total joint replacement only for people with osteoarthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis resulting from previous injury, correction of bone deformities, and trauma are several conditions treatable by joint replacement surgery.

The life of any implant will depend on your weight, age, activity level, and other factors. For more information on risks, warnings, and possible adverse effects, see the Patient Risk Information section found within

Which parts of the body does arthritis affect?
The most commonly affected joints are the knees, hips, fingers, shoulders, and back.

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